The kids are alright

By BOB GULLA  |  April 30, 2008

That is not to say Mob is overwrought or tedious at all. There are exhilarating passages and the band ends up on some compelling tributaries. “Rum and Coke” has a vague Jamaican flair and “Jesus Crust” rips into funk and psych-jazz riffs. Again, these tunes aren’t cyclical or repetitive. They start at Point A and end up somewhere at the opposite side of the alphabet, stopping briefly at some scenic layovers before moving on quickly and hyperactively. It’s the biggest thrill of listening to Mob: wondering where these guys end up next.

Yo-ho-ho!
If you’ve seen them live, you know that the sing-along sailors of Sharks Come Cruisin’ — Ed, Mark, Seth, and Paul on accordion — sure do know how to throw a party. For those who haven’t, here’s re-corded evidence. Live at Jake’s (at sharkscomecruisin.com) has 10 songs that evoke the “yo-ho-ho and a bottle o’ rum” days of swaggering, sinful, and besotted men of the sea. On the one hand, what SCC do is rather charming, a sort of historical musical preservation for the alt-rock set. On the other, it’s just a grand time, an exciting way to feast on, rather than stand back from, a band’s performance. There might be a limited appeal, recording-wise and subject matter, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. And it even ships off with the classic “Blow the Man Down”: “If you give me some whisky I’ll sing you a song!”

Herd of Mers
John Orsi (Overflower) has been creating noisy, wandering, evocative, often beautiful music for a long time. Karen Orsi, his significant other and collaborator, takes control of the material here for the first time on her band Herd of Mers’ debut, Aurora Caught Napping (It’s Twilight Time, at overflower.com), and she exhibits even more delicacy and restraint, though with slightly more conventionality. There’s air and space between most of her notes — all of which are supplied by the duet on guitar and drums. Karen’s voice lingers sweetly and most meaningfully on quieter tunes like “Single Hour” and “Midge.” It reverberates more fully on “Walls,” which has a psychedelic, post Velvet Underground feel. Aurora Caught Napping is a searching work, with lots of solid ideas. For me, the prettier moments work best.

Wandering eye
Tonight (Thursday the 1st), SIX STAR GENERAL, DEER TICK, and TWO COW GARAGE play Jake’s at 8 pm. Call 401.453.5253. On Friday, SSG bangs it out with SUICIDE BILL AND THE LIQUORS and New Bedford’s THE BLOOD MOONS at Jimmy’s Saloon, 37 Memorial Boulevard, Newport. Call 401.846.5121.

There’s a slew of good local music on Friday at AS220, with KILLING PABLO, DIRTY DIRTY, SPURS, and EXILE in a B Sharp-sponsored showcase. On Saturday at AS220 it’s pure mayhem with DROPDEAD, Japan’s SYSTEMATIC DEATH and TRAGEDY, straight outta Portland, OR. The evening show is sold out, but tix were available at press time for the 5 pm show. Call 401.831.9327.

Send info to bobgulla@verizon.net.

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